Trends to hope for in 2008

By Janet Keeler, Laura Reiley and Chris Sherman of the Times Staff
Published January 2, 2008

Every food magazine - and public relations firm - is telling us what will be hot in the food world this year.

Expect to read a lot more about labeling, eating locally produced food, fair trade and the bottled water backlash. Go tap water! "Superfruits," such as the antioxidant-rich acai berry of Brazil and goji berry of China, will make news, as will anything calling itself artisanal. Don't know the name of any farmers? You will by year's end.

We predict 2008 will be the year people start paying serious attention not only to what they eat but where and how it was grown, raised or manufactured. But in between philosophical discussions about the food supply, you've got to eat. Here is what we'd like to see on our plates, in our restaurants and where we shop this year.

1. Farmers at outdoor markets.

2. Juicy fruits in summer.

3. Less merlot and pinot grigio on wine lists;more Spanish reds and German whites.

4. Imaginative vegetarian entrees.

5. Florida fish in the grocery, especially mullet.

6. Interesting kids' menus (how about half orders of grownup food?)

7. Trader Joe's!

8. Duck breast, not just frozen ducklings.

9. Meat as a side dish.

10. Cambodian, Laotian and Singaporean restaurants.

11. Sexier grocery stores, with hardwood floors in the deli and vast - and good - takeout sections.

12. Safe food.

13. An end to the recitation of the daily specials. Print them for us, please.

14. More independent bakeries.

15. A chain restaurant that has healthful, contemporary food.


16. More lounges for drinks and little plates.

17. Squeeze-your-own juice machines at grocery stores.

18. Better produce sections. Forget the dragonfruit and kiwano. Give us golden beets and good-looking lettuce every day.

19. The end of steamed vegetable medleys on restaurant plates.

20. More meals prepared and eaten at home. And the time to do both.